Puerto Rico Governor Loses Primary to Former Ally

Gov. Pedro R. Pierluisi of Puerto Rico lost his bid for a second term on Sunday, suffering a rare defeat by a sitting governor on the island after a rancorous primary.

Mr. Pierluisi was defeated by Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico’s nonvoting member of Congress, in the primary for the governing New Progressive Party, which supports Puerto Rican statehood, The Associated Press reported.

Four years ago, Mr. Pierluisi and Ms. González-Colón ran as allies on the same ticket, promising unity after a tumultuous period that included the resignation of a former New Progressive governor. But in challenging Mr. Pierluisi, her former ally, Ms. González-Colón cast his administration as out of touch and ineffective.

Puerto Rican politics do not neatly align with partisan politics in the mainland. While Mr. Pierluisi and Ms. González-Colón both belong to the pro-statehood party, Mr. Pierluisi is a Democrat and Ms. González-Colón is a Republican.

In the other primary held on Sunday, for the Popular Democratic Party, which supports the island’s existing status as a U.S. territory, State Representative Jesús Manuel Ortiz defeated State Senator Juan Zaragoza by a wide margin. The general election will be held Nov. 5.

Puerto Rico has been rebuilding its tenuous economy after the severe blows caused by a financial crisis, a bankruptcy, Hurricane Maria and the coronavirus pandemic. But many Puerto Ricans remain deeply frustrated by power outages, a housing crisis and the high cost of living — as well as by the slow pace of reconstruction after Maria, a Category 4 storm that devastated the Caribbean island in 2017.

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